Don't "Should" on Me!

Subject: Don't "Should" on Me!
From: Dan Dieterich <ddieteri -at- UWSPMAIL -dot- UWSP -dot- EDU>
Date: Thu, 2 Jun 1994 17:24:32 -0600

Caryn asks, "But what do you do in the case where if the user does not do what
we tell them, the consequences are very serious? Since we are to avoid the
negative (Don't do this), what do we use instead to convey an imperative that
should not be taken lightly?"

I tell them something along the lines of-- "Enter the correct password. If you
don't, then [these consequences result]."

If, instead of that, I were to write "The correct password must/should/ought
to be entered," I'm afraid someone will read that as "The correct password
must/should/ought to already be entered, so don't you bother to enter it."

If I were to write "You should enter the correct password," I'm employing a
strong tone, but the sentence itself is still just a statement--not a command.
If I had to defend what I wrote in a court of law one day, I'd prefer to
defend commands that are commands--not statements.

- Dan

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